Poland Tours

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10 Days Krakow to Warsaw

Operator: Insight Vacations

tours within poland

9 Days Warsaw to Warsaw

Operator: Cosmos

tours within poland

Operator: Globus

tours within poland

7 Days Krakow to Warsaw

Operator: Intrepid Travel

Discover Must do experiences and highlights in Poland

The 12 Islands of Wrocław

The 12 Islands of Wrocław

Connected by roughly 130 bridges, Wrocław is simply enchanting. Watch for the city’s iconic gnomes beneath the stunning gothic spires.

Historic and Resilient Warsaw

Historic and Resilient Warsaw

Rebuilt after WWII, Warsaw is home to impressive architecture rising from the cobblestones and moving narratives etched in the landmarks.

Stirring Narratives of Auschwitz

Stirring Narratives of Auschwitz

Get an insight into the resilience of the human spirit as you hear moving narratives of this former concentration camp with a local expert.

Kraków’s Market Square

Kraków’s Market Square

Europe's largest medieval square is flanked by architectural delights, from charming townhouses to beautiful churches. Browse the handicrafts in the famous Cloth Hall and marvel at the artwork adorning St. Mary’s Basilica.

Walk the Tatra Mountains

Walk the Tatra Mountains

Straddling the border of Poland and Slovakia, this mountain range is a haven for nature lovers. From the icy lakes and deep glens to the snow dusted peaks, the breathtaking views reward your exploration on foot.

Recent Reviews What our clients are saying about their journeys in and around Poland

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Discovering Poland

About this tour.

On an all-encompassing tour of Poland, uncover the country’s poignant past and engaging present. Tour the thriving capital city of Warsaw, reborn after World War II. See Wawel Castle, the former home to the kings of Imperial Poland. Behold the Black Madonna while visiting the Jasna Góra Monastery. During a moving visit to Auschwitz, unveil its somber history and tragic reality. Discover Polish culture at a folklore dinner and show in Kraków. From the thriving capital city of Warsaw to the coastal city of Gdansk, experience Poland at its best.

Your Tour Includes

  • 4 Handpicked Accommodations
  • 2 Choice on Tour Options

Included Highlights

  • Malbork Castle
  • Solidarity Shipyards

Your Tour at a Glance

10 Breakfasts

Travel Style

Customize your tour.

Optional Excursions

Starting at $50.00

Activity Level

  • Level This Tour

For specific details about this tour's activity level and other info to know before you book your trip, click here.

Travel Styles

Highlights and inclusions.

Must-See Inclusions:

  • Discover the 700-year-old Malbork castle, one of the world's largest.

A tour of Wroclaw brings you up-close to this ethnically diverse city.

Get a deeper perspective of Warsaw during a Jewish heritage tour.

Cultural Experiences:

  • Visit the Jasna Góra monastery to witness the world-famous Black Madonna.

Explore the poignant history of Auschwitz.

Culinary Inclusions:

Immerse yourself in Polish culture during a folklore show and dinner.

  • Choice on Tour
  • Jasna Góra Monastery
  • Black Madonna
  • Folklore Show & Dinner

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* With Insurance Purchased

  • *No Hassle Refunds
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  • No booking fee, *no change fees
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Getting Prepared

Know before you go, travel tips, enhance your tour.

  • Choice On Tour

Pre and Post Night Stay

Unique Experience

Cultural Experiences

Enhance Your Trip

  • Tour Extensions

In Gdansk, it’s your choice! Take an independent boat ride down the Motlawa River, experiencing the historic city of Gdansk from the water side. As you take in the salty-sea views, get a true taste of the local flavor aboard the ship as you relax and take in the coastal views – OR – take a short afternoon tour of Sopot, a town set on the Baltic Sea where you can see the fairy-tale inspired Crooked House and Monte Cassino before enjoying free time for lunch, exploration or a return to Wroclaw to relax.

Hotel-Mercure Grand Warszawa Hotel

History surrounds you in the former Jewish district of Kazimierz. Krakow - once the capital of Poland - is where Jews lived under the protection of Polish kings and is home to the historic Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. The Jewish community developed culture, religion, and even their own educational system during this time. As you walk through Kazimierz in the present, you'll see historic synagogues, stop for photos and an educational talk at the remnants of a World War II ghetto in Podgorze, and even visit the streets where Spielberg filmed his Academy Award-winning movie, "Schindler's List". You will also visit a Jewish cemetery and learn all about the practice of giving "kvitelach" - a note with personal prayers to God - along with kosher traditions.

Travel through the Silesian heartland to the towns of Jawor and Swidnica, home to the "Churches of Peace." You will visit one of these churches whose names are derived from the Peace Accords of Westphalia signed in 1648 which ended the 30 Years War and which permitted Lutherans living in Catholic Silesia to build their own evangelical churches. We will explore the church which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its masterful architecture and historical importance. Inside you will be treated to a private organ concert. Afterwards, you will journey to a small village in the heart of the Polish countryside where you will enjoy lunch and a wine tasting.

Discover the 700-year-old Malbork castle, one of the world's largest.

Visit the Jasna Góra monastery to witness the world-famous Black Madonna.


Arrive earlier.

Pre Night: Mercure Grand Warszawa Hotel From $80 per night

Mercure Grand Warszawa Hotel

Radisson blu hotel gdansk, the bridge wroclaw mgallery, holiday inn city center krakow.

Nights 8-10

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Poland’s East & Lithuania

This tour brings you up close to the realm the Żubr (European bison) , in an area of pristine nature where the forest is thickest. Even for the Poles, the northeastern frontier is a fairytale-like melting pot because it is a unique patchwork consisting of Polish, Belarus, Lithuanian, Jewish and Tartar cultures. It represents Poland from a distant past when it was governed under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Though it is off-the-beaten track, the tour is relaxing and serene. The journey passes through some of the most photogenic rural landscapes in Eastern Europe.

The Best Of Lithuania & Eastern Poland is our only tour that crosses state borders. However, the borders are almost invisible because Poland and Lithuania are now in the EU. You will visit another exciting country and its capital, Vilnius , which has biggest old town in Eastern Europe. This will enable you to compare another old European city with Krakow.

You can be assured that you will be exploring a very unspoiled and safe area under the professional guidance of a StayPoland tour leader.

  • Additional information

Price on request

Treblinka memorial and orthodox hajnowka.

tours within poland

Morning:  After breakfast we set off from Warsaw to the east of Poland. The first stop is Treblinka , where we will visit the poignant remains of the second biggest Nazi German extermination camp.

Afternoon:  Lunch break in Ciechanowiec, a small town that was inhabited mostly by Jews before World Word II. We then continue our journey to Hajnowka , one of the key centres of Orthodox Christian faith in Poland. The town’s Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is an excellent example of the contemporary architecture.

Evening:  We reach Bialowieza , a picturesque village located in the middle of Bialowieza Forest and famous for its regional wooden architecture.

Bialowieza National Park and european bison reserve

tours within poland

Early Morning:  A walk in the Strictly Protected Area to explore the beauty of untouched nature in a multi-species forest with trees that are more than 400-years old. It is one of the last primeval forests in Europe .

Afternoon:  We continue our walking tour in the Palace Park and see a 19th century Orthodox Church. This is followed by a visit to the famous European Bison Show Reserve , where the restituted bison (saved from near extinction) live in semi-wild conditions.

Evening:  Overnight stay in Białowieża and dinner at a fine local restaurant.

Feast in the Tatar house

tours within poland

Morning:  After breakfast, we drive to Kruszyniany , a village famous for a minor Tatar community and an agritourism cottage run by the Bogdanowicz family. This village was a highlight in Prince Charles’ 2010 trip to Poland. We visit an original wooden mosque and learn about the history of the Tatars in the area. We then participate in a regional cuisine cooking workshop (dishes include pierekaczewnik – pasta layered with beef), followed by a Tatar-Polish lunch.

Afternoon:  We start our drive to Lithuania , passing through the scenic landscapes of Suwalki Region and Dzukija.

Evening:  On reaching Vilnius , the capital of Lithuania, we check into a comfortable centrally located hotel where we will stay for three nights.

Magnificent Vilnius

tours within poland

Morning:  After breakfast, we begin our tour of Vilnius , the capital and the largest city in Lithuania. This enchanting city features a number of unique monuments, in particular the Cathedral built on the former site of pagan temple, the famous Gate of Dawn (the pilgrimage point for many generations of Poles), one of the oldest European universities, the Gothic St. Anne’s Church, and the classical Town Hall.

Afternoon:  We wander along the charming, crooked lanes of Vilnius to find lunch and coffee in the idyllic atmosphere of the historical core of the city. Optionally, you can visit the Rasos Cemetery, a touching site and the final resting place of Polish And Lithuanian statesmen.

Evening:  A dinner of local cuisine in one of the finest restaurants in the Old Town.

Lithuania through the ages

tours within poland

Morning:  We set out to Trakai , one of the main tourist destinations in the Baltic States, to visit a 14th century castle built in the middle of a lake and on the largest of three islands.

Afternoon:  We move on to a 3000 sq m bunker, locate 25 km from Vilnius, where the authentic atmosphere of the socialist world has been recreated. Upon arrival, we will be dressed in special Soviet-style clothes and be guided into the underground museum. After this time travel to the Cold War ear, we return to present day by heading north to the Park of Europe. The exceptional park is located in the geographic centre of the continent and it is an outdoor exhibition ground of the international modern art.

Evening:  Free time and dinner in Vilnius.

Peasants vs nobility - a flashback from the past

tours within poland

Morning:  After early breakfast, we start our journey back to Poland.

Afternoon:  We stop in Bialystok for lunch. This is followed by a visit to a local heritage park in Wasilkow, where we will take part in handicraft workshops set in the mood of 19th century villages. We then return to Białystok for a lesson in the extraordinary history of this formerly multicultural city.

Evening:  We arrive in the charming village of Kiermusy for a trip back in time to enjoy the sarmatic atmosphere of a traditional Polish court. You will be served dishes made according to old Polish recipes and freshly baked bread. Dinner and overnight stay.

A lazy afternoon in a sleepy town

tours within poland

Morning:  Free time in Kiermusy .

Afternoon:  On the way back to Warsaw, we stop in Tykocin , a fairly small town with a distinctive shtetl character. Today, Tykocin resembles an ethnographic museum with its charming wooden houses, a 17th century synagogue that miraculously survived World Word II and a majestic baroque church.

Return to Warsaw is scheduled at approx. 16:00.


  • European Bison Reserve in Bialowieza National Park (UNESCO list)
  • Treblinka Memorial (in the place of the Nazi extermination camp)
  • Kruszyniany: Tartar mosque and local cuisine cooking lesson
  • The Park of Europe – the only museum of international sculpture in Lithuania
  • Visit at Soviet museum inside the underground bunker
  • Relaxing afternoon in the Europas Parkas – a unique outdoor gallery of the contemporary art
  • Trakai Castle – the old residence of Lithuanian rulers
  • Reverly in Kiermusy


  • Vilnius Historic Centre
  • Bialowieza National Park


Two capitals tour.

  • The powers of Warsaw & Berlin
  • Poznań on the way
  • 50% private – 50% guided

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Women Dressed In Polish National Folk Costumes From Lowicz Region

Polish złoty

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"A land of unspoiled countryside and splendid buildings, and home to 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 23 national parks, Poland is rich in culture, history and natural beauty"

Steven, Travel Director

Enjoy the music of Chopin in Warsaw

The city where Chopin was first discovered provides the perfect backdrop to his masterpieces. Take your pick of many museums, galleries, terraces and parks that still perform concerts daily in honor of this Polish composer and virtuoso, two centuries on.

Journey to the little-known district of Praga in Warsaw

One of the best things to do in Warsaw is to leave the well-trodden Old Town and visit the right bank district of Praga. The once derelict neighborhood has become a favorite among students and artists alike. Explore the gritty bohemia's abandoned factories, now reclaimed and transformed into communal cultural spaces, street art, markets and bars.

Journey to Gdansk

For a change of scenery, head to the port city of Gdansk that bears little resemblance to Poland’s urban centres. Stroll through Main Town and be dazzled by the colorful shop facades of Long Market, an ornate Golden Gate and the bronzed body of a sea God in Neptune Fountain.

Visit Westerplatte, the place where WWII began

A scattering of shelled bunkers and burnt-out ruins contain reminders of the Battle of Westerplatte. This memorial site and monument will whisper Poland’s forlorn story to you. See the lighthouse where the first warning shots were fired and stand where the few brave Polish soldiers tried in vain to defend against the German invasion.

Explore Wieliczka Salt Mines

A short drive from Krakow is a subterranean labyrinth to behold. Descend the many steps and discover an underground world so remarkable in size it contains lakes and a chapel made of salt - right down to its chandeliers. One of the Poland attractions you will have to see with your own two eyes to believe.

Our top 5 things to do in Poland

Walk through the artistic underbelly of Warsaw and stand in the spot where WWII began. These are just some of the captivating experiences served up by Trafalgar in Poland.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum

The largest of the Nazi concentration camps and the resting place of over one million men, women and children, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is a somber place of reflection. Come face-to-face with the realities of the Holocaust with a walk through these infamous grounds, where you will uncover a dark time in humanity that’s not to be forgotten.

Galeria Raster

Founded by two art critics, this independent gallery is a place known for encouraging participation in culture. Immerse in the excitement of Poland’s next generation with film screenings, concerts, countless artworks and a self-publishing bookstore all found at Galeria Raster. This is the heart of the local contemporary art scene.


Fresh respite is found in the ‘Green District’ of Mokotów and the classicist palace that calls it home. Come to Krolikarnia to see the country’s largest collection of sculptures and relax in the leafy estate grounds, where idyllic reading spots and garden performances are plentiful.

Best museums in Poland

A Trafalgar tour through Poland will take you back in time to World War II and forward in time to Poland’s next generation of artists. It is through these museums that you will understand the many chapters of Poland's remarkable story.

The humble pierogi dumplings have been comforting the Polish since the 13th century, enduring and evolving as the years went by. Savoury, salty, spicy, sweet - these half-moon delights will not fail you. From the traditional to the more creative, chefs around the country will surprise you with many moreish fillings.

With a name meaning ‘hunter’s stew’, it’s unsurprising the meal of bigos is meaty and hearty. Expect cabbage, sauerkraut, finely chopped meats and the odd splash of beer or wine stewed for hours. Let this traditional single pot meal warm you on a cool Polish night.

Placki Ziemniaczane

Popular in World War II when there was little to eat, today these potato pancakes are considered a special treat. Try one - or many - at an outdoor market or festival topped with a generous dollop of sour cream or a sweet condiment.

Best food in Poland

Our tours of Poland is complete with many tastes of its simple - and simply delicious - national dishes. You will quickly understand why the Polish say ‘smacznego’ (meaning ‘enjoy your meal’) at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What to pack for Poland

People packing for a tour

Polish phrasebook

Polish is the official language of Poland, so pack a phrasebook to help you learn a few words. If you can’t spare the space, download them to your Google Translate app offline.

A secure day bag

Though Poland is considered a safe destination, it isn't immune to pickpockets and petty crime. A good quality zipper bag or travel wallet will keep cash, cards and important items safe.

Poland is a massive country and on some days, long journeys are unavoidable. The scenery will provide plenty of visual entertainment, while headphones can be used to listen to some local music or enjoy podcasts about Polish history and culture.

A filtered water bottle

Polish water is officially safe to drink, but the plumbing can affect the quality. Many locals and tourists use bottled water; take the cheaper and more eco-friendly option of a reusable bottle with built in filtration.

Some WWII reading

Whether you’re a history buff or not, a refresher on the world wars will make for a richer experience of the significant and soul stirring sites you will visit in Poland.

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Official Language: Polish

Population: 38 million

Capital City: Warsaw

Currency: Z łoty (PLN)

Power Outlet: Types C and E

Gdansk Poland

Poland Itinerary

10 day poland itinerary: gdansk, warsaw & krakow.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau, also simply called Auschwitz concentration camp, is the largest of the Nazi concentration camps. Located in southern Poland, Auschwitz-Birkenau is usually visited as a day trip from Krakow. 

To help you plan your visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, we cover everything you need to know, from scheduling tours, arranging transportation, and what to expect while you are here.

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Top experiences in poland.

Krakow: With its large market square, colorful streets, historic sites, and abundance of amazing, budget friendly restaurants, Krakow is a favorite stop for many people on their tour through Poland. 

Warsaw: Walk through the historic old town, sample Polish food, and get an eye-opening history lesson at several world-class museums in the beautiful city of Warsaw.

Gdansk: Gdansk is one of Poland’s most beautiful and historic seaside cities. Here you can explore the vibrant Old Town, relax on the Baltic coast, and enjoy the delicious food of Gdansk.

Malbork Castle: Malbork Castle is Poland’s most famous castle. It’s also the largest castle in the world, classified by surface area. Located just a short distance from Gdansk and easily accessible by train, Malbork Castle is one of the best day trips to take from Gdansk.

Visit Gdynia and Sopot from Gdansk: Collectively, the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot make up what is called the Tri-City. These three cities sit along the Baltic Coast. Sopot is a ritzy, coastal town famous for its beaches and nightlife. Gdynia is a smaller, quieter town with a beach, a harbor, and several unique museums. From Gdansk, you can day trip to Gdynia and Sopot in one day. 

Visit the Museum of the Second World War: This fascinating museum covers the events that led up to WWII and the impact the war had on Poland. This is one of the best museums in Poland and it is a must-visit, even if you are not a museum lover. 

Auschwitz-Birkenau: Take an emotional and thought-provoking visit to the largest of the Nazi concentration camps.

Go hiking in the Polish Tatras from Zakopane: Zakopane is Poland’s gateway city for exploring the mountain range known as the Tatras. From Zakopane, you can take your pick from quick, easy hikes to longer all-day affairs that have you climbing among the tallest mountain peaks.

How Many Days Do You Need in Poland?

For the best experience, plan on spending 7 to 10 days in Poland. With 7 days, you have just enough time to visit three cities (Krakow, Warsaw, and Gdansk). Add on 3 more days, for a total of 10, to add on day trips to places such as Malbork Castle and Auschwitz-Birkenau.

With even more time, you can visit the smaller cities in Poland, go to the beach, go hiking in the Tatras, or explore off the beaten path destinations. 

If you only have a few days in Poland, we recommend choosing one city and doing day trips from here.

Best Time to Visit Poland

May through September is the best time to visit Poland, if you are looking to travel when the weather is warm. Hiking conditions are also best during this time. However, June through August is the most crowded time to visit, so if you are looking to avoid crowds, we recommend visiting in May or September.

Poland in winter months can be a beautiful time to visit. Poland would be a great place to spend Christmas, as they hold many Christmas celebrations and Christmas markets throughout the country. Poland is also a great destination for skiing, ice-skating, and winter hiking through snow-covered mountains. 

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Tours in Poland

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Top 5 Tours in Poland

1 | the history of krakow: old town & wawel castle tour.

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2 | The 10 Tastings of Krakow

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3 | Highlights & Hidden Gems of Krakow

4 | highlights & hidden gems of warsaw, 5 | explore the schindler's factory & surroundings with a local guide, cities in poland, enjoy our gdańsk.

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Enjoy our Krakow

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Enjoy our Warsaw

Enjoy our wrocław, experiences for every interest.

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Home Dinners • Local Delicacies • Food Markets...

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Treasure Hunts • Arts & Crafts • Cooking...

Cultural Heritage • Castles • Myths & Legends...

Highlights & Must-sees • Tastings • Local...

Boat Rides • Wildlife & Nature • Day Trips...

Galleries • Street Art • Architecture • Art...

Local Culture • Off-the-beaten-track • Markets...

All Tours in Poland

The history of krakow: old town & wawel castle tour, the 10 tastings of krakow, highlights & hidden gems of krakow, highlights & hidden gems of warsaw, explore the schindler's factory & surroundings with a local guide, the 10 tastings of warsaw, explore poland with a local of your choice.

Learn about their personal stories, and find out how you can explore Poland together

  • Cześć I am Olena The Creative Soul See more
  • Cześć I am Janina The Adventurous Dreamer See more
  • Cześć I am Aleksander The Walking Encyclopedia See more
  • Cześć I am Malina The Rock & Roll Soul See more
  • Cześć I am Whit The Art Historian See more
  • Cześć I am Stephane bringing Poland closer See more
  • Cześć I am Joanna The Fearless Geotourist See more
  • Cześć I am Mona The Art and Food Lover See more
  • Cześć I am Marcin The Musical Landscaper See more
  • Cześć I am Bartek The Hiking Enthusiast See more

City Kickstart Tour: Warsaw

Off the beaten track in warsaw: praga tour, fine dining tour by night in warsaw, explore downtown warsaw: the impact of wwii, warsaw's modern architectural gems private tour, highlights & hidden gems of dębniki district, beautiful ojcow day trip: national park & castles, golden hour shoot with a professional photographer, for the love of polish alcohol: tastings & culture, what other travelers love about our local experts.

We booked a 3 hour, 10 tasting tour with Mona. She took us to very local places, told us about the history of the food, as well her memories from eating these foods in her upbringing, which was lovely. She was very knowledgeable and lovely and i would recommend her to anyone, it adds so much to a trip to have a local show you around and tell you the tales! Very good English.

Bartek gave an excellent tour of the Krakow Ghetto and Schindler's factory. While it was a three hour tour, Bartek was able to cover an amazing amount of materials explaining the growth of the city, the commercial and social life as well as going into great deal about the fate of the Jews in the area before, during and after the war. Perhaps the most extraordinary piece was the visit to Schindler's factory. The factory has been converted into a museum and is chock full of memorabilia and artifacts starting in the early 30's and going all the way till the end of the way in the later 40's. Without Bartek's help, we definitely would have overlooked the most important pieces of the exhibit. He moved us a long at a solid pace, drawing our attention to the most salient displays. Without that guidance we would have never made it through in an hour and a half. Bartek is soft spoken and thoughtful. He's been conducting tours for several years and brings a weatlh of knowledge to his work. He's intent on answering personal questions and bringing this terribly period of time in Krakow history to life for his visitors. I highly recommend Bartek as a tour guide.

We had an excellent tour with Marcin. He took us through the former ghetto in Warsaw and helped us to get a better understanding of the tragedy of this period in Polish history under Nazi occupation. The tour was thorough and paced well. We covered several miles of the old ghetto and ended in the old city. As a musician, Marcin has a unique perspective on history and human interaction. He is thoughtful and showed empathy for the suffering of his fellow countrymen. I highly recommend his tours for anyone wishing to learn more about Warsaw's history as well as contemporary life in Poland.

I love tours that educate me about the history of a city but also gives me an understanding of the current situation. Marcin is an excellent guide and left me with his love of his city and country. This was my second tour with Marcin and he is great about communicating before tour too

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Poland Tours and Trips 2024/2025

A country that is home to some 2000 lakes, Poland is a beautiful Balkan nation that offers stunning nature, delicious food and friendly people. Get to know the country’s complicated past with a culture, history and heritage tour in Warsaw , or make your tastebuds happy with a food and wine tour in Krakow . Enjoy some pierogis for us!

26 Trips in Poland with 15 Reviews

Highlights Of Poland Tour

  • Starts Warsaw, Poland
  • Ends Krakow, Poland

Highlights of Poland

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • Tour Type Small Group Tour
  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Train tours Cultural, religious and historic sites , Train tours & Art and architecture 'data-more-tripid='17295'>+1 more
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Train, Bus & Minibus
  • Age Range 16-95 yrs
  • Operated in English
  • Apr 06 Only 9 seats left
  • May 18 Only 10 seats left
  • View More Jan 1, 2019 Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019

Best Of Poland Tour

  • Ends Warsaw, Poland

Best of Poland

  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Activities City sightseeing & Local culture City sightseeing , Local culture , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Art and architecture 'data-more-tripid='21329'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Resort
  • Transport Coach
  • Age Range 5-99 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 2,550
  • Special Deal (10%): - US$ 264
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,286
  • Apr 13 Only 10 seats left
  • May 25 10+ seats left

Highlights Of Poland Tour

  • Starts Krakow, Poland
  • Activities Local culture & Cultural, religious and historic sites Local culture , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Art and architecture & Food tours 'data-more-tripid='21233'>+2 more
  • Brochure Price: US$ 3,124
  • Special Deal (14%): - US$ 429
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,695
  • Apr 12 10+ seats left
  • Apr 19 10+ seats left

Hiking In The Polish Carpathians Tour

Hiking in the Polish Carpathians

  • Activities Trekking and Hiking & Active and outdoor
  • Accommodation Hotel, Hut & Resort
  • Transport Boat & Bus
  • Jun 01 Only 10 seats left
  • Jun 15 Only 7 seats left

Highlights Of Southern Poland Tour

Highlights of Southern Poland

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Art and architecture
  • Transport Bus, Private Vehicle & Train
  • Age Range 15-99 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,730
  • Special Deal (5%): - US$ 86
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,644
  • Jun 02 Only 8 seats left
  • Jun 16 Only 7 seats left

Discovering Poland Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw & Kraków Tour

Discovering Poland Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw & Kraków

  • Activities City sightseeing
  • Accommodation Resort & Hotel
  • Transport Boat, Train & Bus
  • Age Range 1-95 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 2,799
  • Special Deal (14%): - US$ 400
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,399
  • May 11 10+ seats left
  • Jun 22 10+ seats left

Central Europe: Castles, Culture & Capitals Tour

  • Starts Prague, Czech Republic
  • Ends Budapest, Hungary

Central Europe: Castles, Culture & Capitals

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Trekking and Hiking
  • Transport Boat, Bus & Minibus
  • Jun 08 Only 7 seats left
  • Jul 13 Only 8 seats left

Krakow To Budapest Adventure Tour

Krakow to Budapest Adventure

  • Activities Rafting & Active and outdoor Rafting , Active and outdoor & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='17173'>+1 more
  • Transport Train, Bus & Boat
  • May 05 Only 1 seat left
  • Jul 21 Only 6 seats left

Highlights Of Eastern Europe Tour

  • Ends Prague, Czech Republic

Highlights of Eastern Europe

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Walking tours Cultural, religious and historic sites , Walking tours , Beer and drinks tasting & Mountains 'data-more-tripid='17172'>+2 more
  • Jul 21 Only 4 seats left

Highlights Of Poland - 7 Days Tour

  • Ends Gdansk, Poland

Highlights of Poland - 7 Days

  • Activities Explorer
  • Transport Train
  • Age Range 18-80 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,415
  • Special Deal (25%): - US$ 354
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,061
  • Jun 18 Only 8 seats left
  • Jul 16 Only 8 seats left

Classic Baltics Tour

  • Starts Gdansk, Poland
  • Ends Tallinn, Estonia

Classic Baltics

  • Activities Sightseeing Tours & Art and architecture Sightseeing Tours , Art and architecture , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Local culture 'data-more-tripid='5693'>+2 more
  • Transport Ferry, Bus, Private Vehicle, Train & Minibus
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,970
  • Special Deal (5%): - US$ 98
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,872
  • Apr 21 Only 1 seat left
  • May 26 Only 5 seats left

Christmas Markets Of Poland, Prague & Germany Tour

  • Ends Berlin, Germany

Christmas Markets of Poland, Prague & Germany

  • Activities Festivals and events & Cultural, religious and historic sites Festivals and events , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Shopping and Markets , Art and architecture , Food tours , Wine tasting tours & Christmas markets 'data-more-tripid='21183'>+5 more
  • Brochure Price: US$ 2,425
  • Special Deal (2%): - US$ 40
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,385
  • Nov 26 10+ seats left
  • Dec 03 Only 9 seats left

Harmony Of Central Europe Tour

Harmony of Central Europe

  • Activities Luxury & Cultural, religious and historic sites Luxury , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Wine tasting tours & Art and architecture 'data-more-tripid='21099'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Luxury Hotel
  • Transport Coach & Private Vehicle
  • May 07 Only 8 seats left
  • May 21 10+ seats left

Helsinki To Warsaw Tour

  • Starts Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki to Warsaw

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Transport Coach & Ferry
  • Age Range 10-99 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,845
  • Special Deal (29%): - US$ 530
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,315
  • Jun 19 Only 3 seats left
  • Jul 10 Only 6 seats left

Poland Tour Reviews

  • Anand The Traveler.
  • Sherrie Budai

Poland - Tour Highlights and Travel Tips

With temperate climates, and a variety of landscapes, head out to the beach, the ski slope, or tour castles to satisfy your heart’s desire in Poland.

Spread like a blanket between the Baltic Sea to the Carpathian Mountains, Poland welcomes visitors to a land filled with 2,000 lakes nestled in the heart of Central Europe. With temperate climates, and a variety of landscapes, head out to the beach, the ski slope, or tour castles to satisfy your heart’s desire in this often-overlooked vacation destination; and if you’re planning your trip to Poland during the holidays, even better!  Christmas and Easter seasons are an extended celebration in Poland, with decorations, arts and crafts, and music in abundance. 

Tour Highlights

  • Visit one of the many Christmas Markets throughout the month of December, the largest of which can be found at Krakow’s Market Square.
  • Go underground for a tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine; sculptures and chandeliers await your discovery.
  • Take a trip back to the middle ages with a visit to Malbork Castle, the most impressive brick castle in all of Europe.
  • If outdoor adventure is more your style, climb on board a river raft and head down the Dunajec river.
  • Interested in the history of music? You wouldn’t want to miss Chopin’s Manor House in Zelazowa Wola! Beautiful music, and a beautifully manicured landscape blend to make this a truly wonderful stop on your itinerary. 
  • Plan your trip to coincide with the International Festival of Jewish Culture that takes place every summer.
  • If you relish religious relics, then visit the Jasna Gora monastery to see “The Black Madonna”, the holiest and most important of the religious icons in Poland’s possession.
  • Head South and hit the slopes for some great Skiing at Bialka Tatrzanska in the Carpathians.

Travel Tips

  • If you need to plug in, be sure to take the right adapter. Electricity on Poland is230 Volts, 50 Hertz. Two round pins for your plug is standard here, so be prepared.
  • If you need to “go” then you need to know that women’s bathrooms are marked with a circle, and men’s bathrooms with a downward pointing triangle.
  • Be sure to pack season appropriate attire as the weather conditions fluctuate dependent upon the season; layers of course, are always a good idea.

Poland has seasonal weather so please do check up on best time to visit Poland before planning your tour.

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Discover our regions

Discover poland in it’s 16 amazing regions:.

tours within poland

This is a region with many valued historical sites, castles and palaces as well as attractions for fans of industrial tourism (it is home to Poland’s first capital city, Gniezno). The province also has plenty of valuable natural areas including two national parks (Wielkopolska National Park and part of Drawa National Park), which hold great potential for active tourism such as the Great Wielkopolska Loop. The region’s capital is Poznań, Poland’s most important trade-fair centre.


A picturesque region with remarkable rivers and lakes, the least urbanised part of Poland; idyllic landscapes, charming localities, health resorts, and four national parks (Białowieża, Biebrza, Narew and Wigry) welcome tourists; the region includes the UNESCO-listed Białowieża Forest; Podlaskie province, with hospitable Białystok as its capital, has many multicultural attractions…


A region very popular among tourists for the Great Masurian Lakes, summer resorts and health spas, visitors will discover many charming towns lying amidst beautiful forests and bodies of water.

tours within poland

As a destination, this province is great for health resorts and spas on the Baltic Sea as well as many interesting historical sites. Highlights include the UNESCO-listed Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, two national parks (Słowiński and Tuchola Forest) also cultural and historical ones, starting with the region’s capital of Gdańsk.

krzywy las

A coastal region offering lots of great adventures and home to many seaside resorts and famous health spas, the province has attractive natural areas including two national parks (Wolin and Drawa).  Zachodniopomorskie province is a region with lots of attractions for every tourist.

tours within poland

Filled with attractions for the active and history-loving tourist, with traces of Chopin’s life and work, this is the largest province and home to Poland’s capital city – Warsaw, whose Old Town is a UNESCO-listed heritage site. To the south of the capital lies a health resort, and to the north-west Kampinos National Park, not to mention the surrounding localities explored via the winding roads of Mazovia…


Filled with ancient Slavic sites, famous health resorts and natural attractions, the province also includes a gem of Gothic architecture – Toruń – whose historical centre, with the 14th-century Town Hall, tenements and fragments of castle walls, is a UNESCO-listed heritage site.


A region with an ever-growing number of tourist attractions, both natural and manmade, not to mention Poland’s only thermal spa in Uniejów and a skiing facility in the heart of Poland: Kamieńsk Hill on the slope of the Bełchatów mine. The geometric centre of Poland lies in Łódzkie province, in the village of Piątek, and the province capital is the multicultural and modern city of Łódź.

tours within poland

Poland’s most densely forested province, rich in natural attractions including a national park (Warta Mouth), historic buildings (e.g. Łagów Castle) and former military sites (the Międzyrzecz Fortification Region), as well as a UNESCO-listed site: Park Mużakowski. The province has two capitals: Zielona Góra and Gorzów Wielkopolski.

tours within poland

Home to a variety of architectural marvels (including Książ, Poland third largest castle) Lower Silesia also boasts mountains, two national parks (Karkonosze and Sowie Mountains), many mountain resorts and the greatest number of health spas in Poland. Dig a little deeper and you’ll also find two UNESCO-listed sites (the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica, and the Centennial Hall in Wrocław), as well as the bustling regional capital, Wrocław.

tours within poland

Poland’s smallest province, but one that is rich in culture and full of treasures for tourists. There’s something for everyone here – whether you’re looking to sightsee or are craving some relaxation. The region boasts beautiful lakes and rivers, famous castles and palaces, fascinating natural, historical and even prehistoric sites; the capital of Opolskie province is the “singing” city of Opole…

tours within poland

Śląśkie (Silesia) is a province rich in mineral and natural resources and is one of the most important industrial regions of Poland. Silesia’s largest city and historical capital is Wrocław, and the major metropolitan area is the Upper Silesian metro area with Katowice at its center. The multiethnic heritage of the region delivers deep and enriching cultural exploration of local history, tradition, and customs.

tours within poland

The Małopolska Province is where one finds some of Poland’s most visited sites. This most varied region stretches from the snowy peaks of the Tatra Mountains to the rugged limestone cliffs of Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, and the scenic, low lying Vistula River Valley.

Świętokrzyski Park Narodowy

This is a charming province, home to the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and Świętokrzyski National Park. The region is all about hermit and monastic traditions, age-old legends and dinosaurs combined with picturesque towns, multiple historical sites and famous health resorts. The regional capital is Kielce.

tours within poland

Podkarpackie is one of the greenest regions of Poland. There are pristine meadows and beautiful forests. Over one third of the region’s area, including remnants of the ancient Carpathian primeval Forest, is protected. Mighty wisents, lynxes, wildcats, and a number of rare bird species such as the golden eagle, are just a few of many species you can meet while hiking in the area.

tours within poland

Beautifully situated between the rivers Vistula and Bug, at the junction of Eastern and Western culture, Lubelskie has an alluring exoticism. Offering a rich natural environment with two national parks (Roztocze and Polesie) as well as historical sites including the UNESCO-listed Old Town in Zamość, the region tempts visitors with boats trips along the Vistula in Kazimierz, hiking in the Vistula glacial valley, treatments at health resorts and historic architecture in the province capital – Lublin.

tours within poland

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tours within poland

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Highlights of Eastern Europe Guided Tour

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The Bohemian Guided Tour

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Christmas Markets of Poland, Prague and Germany Guided Tour

Christmas Markets of Poland, Prague & Germany

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10 Day Poland Tours & Trips

Filter for departure dates and price to find the right 10 day Poland tour with TourRadar. Choose from 20 trips with 222 customer reviews, that range from 8 up to 10 days.

20 Poland 10 day tour packages with 222 reviews

Polish Escape (9 destinations) Tour

  • In-depth Cultural
  • Coach / Bus

Polish Escape (9 destinations)

Family tour to Poland Tour

Family tour to Poland

Poland: Carpathian Mountains Guided Walk Tour

  • Hiking & Trekking
  • Mountain Hikes

Poland: Carpathian Mountains Guided Walk

Best of the East Tour

Best of the East

"Such a fun and alternative trip to take! We went to Prague, Poland, Budapest, and..."

Highlights of Poland Tour

Highlights of Poland

"I was in the May 20-27, 2023 Poland tour. The tour got off to a bad start for me..."
  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Portrait of Poland Tour

Portrait of Poland

"I would prefer better meals and better WiFi service on the bus"

Pearls of Poland (for couples) Tour

  • Sightseeing
  • Christmas & New Year

Pearls of Poland (for couples)

"I think this tour is just right for covering the best sites in Poland in a week's..."

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Highlights of Poland (Classic, 10 Days) Tour

Highlights of Poland (Classic, 10 Days)

"The trip was great. All the things we saw were awesome. Poland is a lovely country...."

Tailor-Made Private Poland Tour with Daily Departure Tour

Tailor-Made Private Poland Tour with Daily Departure

  • Book With Flexibility This operator allows you to rebook your dates or tours with them for free, waiving change fees.

Highlights of Poland (Small Groups, 10 Days) Tour

Highlights of Poland (Small Groups, 10 Days)

Gdansk & Masuria with Flair Tour

  • Intl. Flights Included

Gdansk & Masuria with Flair

  • Flights included

Hiking in the Polish Carpathians Tour

  • Active Adventure

Hiking in the Polish Carpathians

"We had a most enjoyable trip. The trekking was great - the weather superb and the..."

Poland Impressions Tour

Poland Impressions

Poland: Pieniny and Tatra Mountains Walk Tour

  • Self Guided Walking Holidays

Poland: Pieniny and Tatra Mountains Walk

The Commonwealth self-guided cycling tour: Lithuania – Poland (another Commonwealth) Tour

The Commonwealth self-guided cycling tour: Lithuania – Poland (another Commonwealth)

10 day poland tour reviews.

"The hotel In Gdansk was awful There were hotels near town that were the same rate..."
"I think this tour is just right for covering the best sites in Poland in a week's..."
"overall good tour experience"
"I can’t believe that this is the first time Ania guided this tour. She organized..."

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The Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland for 2024 or 2025 visits the important Shrines and Sights of St Faustina and Pope John Paul II, including St. Casimir, Sister Faustina’s childhood church where she was baptized and received First Holy Communion and the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow located next to the convent where she is buried. Visit Pope John Paul II’s childhood home, the church in Wadowice, and visit the Jasna Gorna Monastery , containing the Shrine of the Black Madonna more formally known as the National Shrine of Poland to Our Lady of Czestochowa.  See the stunning Black Madonna of Częstochowa .  Visit the Franciscan Monastery founded by St Maximillian Kolbe and the Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz where he sacrificed his life to spare a Jewish prisoner. Recall the memory of St Edith Stein who died at Auschwitz as well.  Walk through the picturesque walled city of Krakow and visit the hilltop Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Join Catholic Journeys on a Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland that features both the excitement and culture of Poland’s capital, Warsaw, and the calm and relaxation of village life in the mountains and village life of Zakopane.  Discover the delightful flavors of Poland .  Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet while on pilgrimage.  Go ahead and book a Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland now for 2024 or 2025.

Divine Mercy Pilgrimage 2024

Tour Details of the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland

Departure & return location.

Your  local airport of choice —  Or you can choose land only and make your own flight arrangements.

Departure Time

Arrive for Check-in 3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares - Round trip airfare listed below Airfare is included for most major airports
  • 1 Checked Bag with the Airlines
  • Hotel Accommodations - 5 and 4-Star Hotels with Porterage
  • Meals - Breakfast and Dinner Daily Wine & mineral water with dinners
  • All transportation in destination location Airconditioned Motor Coach with Bottled Water available onboard
  • Tour Guide - Professional English Speaking Catholic Guides
  • Entrance Fees - Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary Whisper Headsets where needed
  • Daily Mass and Spiritual Activities Coordinated

Price Excludes

  • Travel Insurance - optional but recommended
  • Gratuities for Guides and Drivers
  • Baggage Fees, if applicable
  • Fees for Seat Assignments or upgrades, if applicable
  • Private airport transfers when selecting Land Only and arranging your own flights
  • Any Personal Expenses


  • Name and Luggage tags
  • Neck Wallet

Itinerary for Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland & Saints Faustina, JPII, Kolbe, Stein

Day 1 usa- warsaw.

poland flag pilgrimage tour

Day 2 Warsaw

Poland food divine mercy pilgrimage tour catholic journeys

Your tour director is at the airport to warmly greet you and soon you’re comfortably settled at your hotel.  Upon arrival, Mass at St. James Church, the church St. Faustina went to when she arrived in Warsaw. The rest of the day is to relax. This evening enjoys a welcome dinner and a show at a local restaurant.

Day 3 Warsaw - Old Town - Royal Castle

Day 4 Warsaw - Swinice Warckie -Niepokalanow- Our Lady of Czestochowa

St. Casimir church divine mercy pilgrimage to poland catholic journeys divine mercy shrine in poland

Day 5 Czestochowa - Wadowice - Zakopane

This morning you will have Mass and Visit Jasna Gora Monastery with the Black Madonna picture. One of the most important places of religious worship in the Christian world, with a tradition of pilgrimages that goes back to the 14th century. Our Holy Father has frequently visited Jasna Gorna Monastery, known as the Shrine of the Black Madonna. The group will celebrate Mass at the Pauline Monastery and venerate the priceless treasures contained within, including the Miraculous Icon.  Next travel to Zakopane, with a stop along the way in Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla. Visit the house where the Pope, John Paul II, was born. It has since been turned into a shrine-like museum. You will also visit the church he attended and was baptized as a child. Next, continue on to Zakopane, a resort village nestled in the splendor of the Tatras region. This afternoon we take a cable car ride to the nearby mountaintop for extraordinary views. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6 Zakopane - Salt Mines - Krakow

salt mine poland pilgrimage

Before leaving the beautiful Zakopane,  for the great city of Krakow, you will follow a short distance on one of John Paul II’s walking trails of the Zakopane region, a beautifully situated place within Tatras Mountains in the valley between Gubalowka and Giewont.  Zakopane and its vicinity is a mountain folklore reserve, with many pearls of typical wooden architecture. Horse-drawn carriages will take you to Kalatowki (optional). Admire picturesque landscapes of Polish highest mountains and visit the Hermitage of St. Brother Albert, founder of the Albertine Order—a short walk along colorful Krupowki Street for some last-minute shopping in the local bazaar.  En route to Krakow, there will be a stop at the Wieliczka Salt Mines a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a gorgeous chapel, a statue of St. John Paul II, and a Last Supper scene.  Upon arrival in Krakow, settle in, then perhaps take a short stroll in the old city before or after your dinner.

Day 7 Krakow - Auschwitz - Krakow

krakow on divine mercy pilgrimage

Day 8 Krakow - Full Day Visit to Lagiewniki

divine mercy chapel Poland pilgrimage to poland catholic journeys divine mercy shrine in poland

Day 9 Krakow - Home

Your Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland comes to an end.  Leave Krakow for the return flights home.

Map of the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland 2024

Photos of Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland & St Faustina, JPII, St Kolbe, St Edith Stein

Poland czestochowa Black Madonna Icon on Divine Mercy Pilgrimage

Dates, Pricing, and Booking for Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland & St Faustina, JPII, St Kolbe, St Edith Stein

Travel insurance for the divine mercy pilgrimage to poland.

Travel Insurance is available for the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland and –  recommended!

Click here for information on insurance plans for a Poland Pilgrimage!


FAQ about Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland & St Faustina, JPII, St Kolbe, St Edith Stein

Where will we stay in Poland?


For information regarding hotel accommodations for the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Poland, please click here.

How do I meet up with the group if I make my own flight arrangements? 

Arrival times vary between dates and within pilgrimages.  If you make your own flight arrangements, we can arrange a private airport transfer in Warsaw for $59 per person and in Krakow for $65.  We recommend using our transfer service because they are known and trusted drivers.  As soon as you have your flight information, email Marcelle .

Will I need an electrical adapter on Pilgrimage to Poland? Yes, you will need an adapter for Poland.

Do you have more information about the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage?   Please click here for more information about Divine Mercy and Poland for pilgrims.

Would you like to lead your parish or group on this pilgrimage to Poland?   Click Here to get started.

Do you have FAQs for airlines, passports, vaccinations, travel insurance, tipping, packing, mobility, and others?   Yes. FAQ for all Catholic Journeys Pilgrimage Tours

Related Tours

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Loved it, loved it, and I loved it.

The Divine Mercy Pilgrimage was wonderful. I have many pictures that I shared via a link for the Google photo album. I hope everyone will share their pics as well.

The pilgrimage to Poland was excellent and everyone loved it. The food was fantastic as well as the accommodations.

Hi, I was pleased and happy with the pilgrimage to Poland and everything was well organized. I am looking forward to taking other pilgrimages to Fatima and Lourdes in 2025. I will bring my friends. Thanks again for the wonderful Divine Mercy Pilgrimage. Gertrude

This pilgrimage to Poland was spiritually rich to me. I was really filled with lots of mind blowing experiences and love from the group members that words alone cannot express. I’ll do it again and again if only my poor knees will permit me. I want to thank God and Catholic Journeys for this spiritual rich pilgrimage to Divine Mercy Shrine. More blessings on your endeavors, Catholic Journeys 🙏🏾♥️💃💃

Poland Tours & Holidays

trekker standing on top of the mountain in Tatras Mountains, Poland, on a sunny cloudless day

Scenic, historic and surprisingly cheap – Poland should feature on every traveller's list.

The heart of Poland is in a town’s rynek – the central market square where locals converge and travellers can take the temperature of this   European   gem. Beyond city limits, it’s a country blessed by Mother Nature; of forest and lakes, snow-capped peaks and rolling hills changing colour with each season. There’s a melting pot of traditional cuisines, hearty and heartfelt food that is being reinvented for a new audience. Wander through Poland’s living history: cultural Krakow, maritime mecca Gdansk and the post-war rebuilt capital of Warsaw. Every adventure here is distinct, but one thing remains the same – this under-discovered nation that’s eager to be explored.

Our Poland trips

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Poland at a glance

Capital city.

Warsaw (population approximately 1.75 million)

Approximately 38.5 million

(GMT+01:00) Sarajevo, Skopje, Warsaw, Zagreb



Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)

Learn more about Poland

Culture and customs.

Despite Poland’s turbulent political and wartime past, traditional Polish culture and customs thrive throughout the country. More than three quarters of Poles are Roman Catholics – almost half of whom are regular church attendees. There’s still a Jewish influence, including buildings and symbolism, here too. Many of Poland’s public holidays follow the Roman Catholic calendar, and Christmas and Easter are big festive celebrations.

On important occasions – including folk festivals, weddings, religious holidays – traditional folk costumes called stroje ludowe are worn, The costumes represent different regions of Poland, with colourful fabrics, patterns and decorations.

Some of Poland’s customs and traditions are a little bit unusual, so if you find yourself near a burning effigy on the first day of spring or struck by a water balloon around Easter, don’t worry, it’s all part of bonding with the locals.

Much of Poland’s culture is reflected in its architecture, so a walk along the cobbled streets of Krakow or Warsaw will reveal both history and local charm at building-level.

Top 5 heritage spots of Krakow

  • Collegium Maius This 15th-century building, the oldest in Jagiellonian University, has hosted such famous students as revolutionary astronomer Copernicus and spiritual leader Pope John Paul II. A visit here is an object lesson in art, science, history and architecture.
  • Wawel Cathedral Over a thousand years old, this imposing edifice is where Pope John Paul II conducted his first Mass. If that's not impressive enough, add a crypt holding the bodies of some of Poland's most influential leaders and public figures, and you've got one of Poland's most interesting buildings.
  • Wawel Royal Castle Sitting on the edge of the Vistula River, this remarkable Gothic-style building acted as a home for Poland's royal family centuries ago. Featuring a valuable collection of historic paintings, tapestries and murals, this is a top spot to delve into European treasures and classic architecture.
  • Remuh Synagogue While this small, elegant synagogue may not be the grandest in scale or design, its historic value is unquestionable. Founded in 1553, it remains a place of worship for the local community and a place of pilgrimage for the world's Jewish people.
  • Cloth Hall Krakow's Renaissance-style Cloth Hall is a splendid building with a retail heritage. Once used as trading post for textiles and cloth in the 14th century, nowadays the building houses shops, cafes and a museum. Visit the city's Main Square at night to see this historic piece of architecture lit up.

History and government

Polan to poland.

During the Early Middle Ages, pre-Slavic settlers made their way to what was then East Germania, prospering during the Iron Age. However, it was the Western Polans who dominated the region from the fifth to eighth centuries and gave Poland its name.

Making friends, and losing them

The first Polish state was established in the late 10th century AD, and in 1025 the Kingdom of Poland was founded. In the 13th century, tensions between pagan Prussians and the central powers saw German knights dominate northern Poland and construct fortress strongholds, including the epic castle at Malbork.

Peace was restored, and in 1569 this region became the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At the time, it was one of the largest countries in Europe. The 18th century saw this relationship weaken, so an effort was made to reform, but it was too little, too late. Poland was already being invaded from all sides by Russia. Poland continued to exist as a political and cultural community, despite Russian efforts to supress education and commerce. Although no Polish states existed from the 1790s until 1918, strong resistance movements operated.

Stuck in the firing line

In the 20th century, Poland was forced into battle with occupying forces. Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany and Prussia) and Russia (plus Western Allies) fought World War I, with conflicts occurring on Polish soil. Since no Polish state existed, no one was fighting for Poland – they were conscripted by both sides and fought one another. An estimated one million Poles lost their lives, but amid this loss, Poland regained independence and began to rebuild. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 awarded Poland the western part of Prussia.

A nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union was signed in August 1939, but little did Poland know that this also contained protocol to split the Polish state in two. Weeks later, World War II began with a massive German invasion of Poland. Hitler’s policy was to eradicate Poland, with almost three million Jews and one million Poles perishing in German extermination camps.

The War changed dramatically in June 1941 when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin turning to Poland for help. The Soviet army moved westward, and with Hitler’s defeat at Stalingrad in 1943, the war was all but over. Poland lay in ruins, with six million people, or 20% of the pre-war population losing their lives. The Polish Jewish community declined from three million to less than 90,000. Soviet control continued in Poland, with new borders established and a government set up in 1945. Soon after Stalin died in 1953, the ‘Sovietisation’ of Poland weakened until it was almost non-existent. Traditional Polish values began to be revived.

Power to the people

During the second half of the 20th century, dissatisfied with living and working conditions in the country, Polish workers began to organise and unite. Industrial action, including strikes, led to the formation of a national trade union movement called Solidarity who pushed for workers’ rights and democratic governance. But it took until 1989 for semi-free elections to be held in Poland, when Solidarity succeeded in controlling the Senat (upper house). Communism began to collapse, and in January 1990, Poland’s political system was reformed with a return to territorial self-governance. Political instability followed, but in 1997, an alliance of Solidarity-linked political parties formed a coalition, putting an end to communist rule.

Today, Poland still finds itself in testing times politically and economically, with nationalist voices louder than ever. But the nation has been shaped into a peaceful and resilient nation by the toughest of situations.

Eating and drinking

Poland’s cuisine is a unique blend of influences from its neighbours, regional traditions and times of flourishing trade followed by years of restricted imports. Varied and versatile, it certainly is. Be sure to offer a ‘na zdrowie’ when raising a glass and wish everyone ‘smacznego’ – the Polish ‘bon appetit’ – before tucking into your food.

Here are some hearty essentials to keep a look out for when travelling around Poland.

  • Pierogi What’s a country without its version of a dumpling? Pierogi are found all across Central and Eastern Europe, but many assert Poland is the birthplace of this interpretation. These meat, potato, onion and cheese-filled morsels will warm you up on even the coldest of Krakow evenings.
  • Bigos Bigos is a stew of mixed chopped meat, sauerkraut and fresh cabbage, other vegetables and spices all together in a large cast iron pan. Known as hunter’s stew, it originated in Medieval times and is as hearty as it gets.
  • Rosol This one’s a Polish staple, the most popular version of which is a comforting chicken noodle soup, not just an antidote for the common cold but also for the dreaded (and also common – see number 10 on this list!) hangover. The meat is slowly cooked in a classic clear broth before thin noodles, sliced vegetables and a garnish of herbs are added.
  • Barszcz czerwony Poland may have a convoluted name for it, but their version of borscht is simply delicious. It’s a sour soup with a vibrant purple colour, coming from its key ingredient – beetroot. Traditionally served on Christmas Eve, it’s probably wise not to wear white while you slurp a bowl of it up.
  • Kanapki Take out a ‘k’ and you’ve nearly got the word canape. Funny that, because these open sandwiches resemble that bite-sized evening snack, but aren’t always that bite-sized. Poles have an open sandwich obsession, so they’re an option for every meal, usually with a bottom layer of pate or spread, topped with meat or pickled vegetables and boiled egg slices to top it off.
  • Kopytka Europeans know what’s up with food, and definitely know how to prepare a potato. Kopytka is a Polish take on Italian gnocchi, and is often sautéed in a pan for a crispy outer layer, then sprinkled with fried onions and bacon bits.
  • Golabki Another European dish Poland has added its own twist to is the saucy golabki. It’s the Polish name for cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling of minced pork or beef, plus onions and rice (or barley). They’re a special occasion food, often served at Christmas and weddings, but we reckon they’re good enough to have all year round.
  • Paczki It’s not a fun cuisine if there isn’t a doughnut thrown into the mix. Paczki is a fried, round dough covered with icing sugar or dried orange zest or glazed, with sweet fillings including jam, cream and custard. If they’re not filled and are ring-shaped, these Polish delights are known as oponki.
  • Sernik Poland’s version of a cheesecake is a simple dessert made with a dry-curd ‘farmer’s’ cheese (similar to cottage cheese or quark), and usually without a bottom layer of biscuit. It’s baked for around an hour and comes out set but still moist, to be enjoyed with a dollop of plum jam and cream. A modern version using American-style cream cheese is referred to as Sernik Philadelphia!
  • Beer This is mainly a food list, but it’s hard to leave this beverage off. Beer is abundant in Poland, with around a hundred craft breweries producing distinctive brews, and they’re usually dirt cheap. The most popular varieties are pilsners, pale ales and porters, and the top brands to look out for are Zywiec, Okocim and Tyskie. Pair a local ale with a plate of pierogi.

Geography and environment

Located in Central Europe, Poland shares borders with   Germany ,   Czech Republic ,   Slovakia ,   Ukraine ,   Belarus ,   Lithuania , and   Russia  (Kaliningrad). Poland also has a stretch of coastline along the Baltic Sea, featuring two natural harbours. The coastal regions are marked by dunes and lakes, while the north and central parts of Poland have lowlands and plains, interrupted by rivers and valleys. Segments of the Carpathian Mountains mark the south-east part of the country, while the Tatra Mountains act as a natural border between Poland and Slovakia.

Around 90 per cent of the country sits less than 300 metres above sea level, but the south has mountains that bring with them relatively cold winters. The northern reaches of Poland are graced with sandy beaches stretching out to the Baltic Sea, as well as the Masurian Lakes District – an area with over 2000 lakes dotted through dense forest. Storks, eagles, bison and wolves are all found in the 23 national parks around Poland, and much of the flora and fauna in the country is under natural protection.

From local wares and crafts in town ryneks to global brands in malls dotted around the cities, Poland’s got all the shopping you need. The main places to shop in Krakow are Shevska, Florianskaya and Grodskaya streets. In Warsaw, Plac Trzech Krzyzy (Three Crosses Square), Mokotowska Street and the Old Town all offer a wide range of places to shop.

In recent years, Poland has implemented a restriction on Sunday shopping trading on almost all stores for all but seven Sundays in the year (exceptions are those which fall before Easter and Christmas periods). There are also some exceptions for certain types of stores and those located in airports and train stations. Keeping this in mind is important when considering travel plans in Poland, as you may not be able to find what you’re looking for if travelling on a Sunday.

As with most countries, Poland adds a goods and services tax to many of its products. Poland’s VAT (PTU in Polish) is calculated at 23%, 8% or 5% depending on the type of product, and is normally included in the marked price.

Festivals and events

Alongside the major religious and cultural celebrations in Poland, this Central European nation gets together and celebrates in a whole range of ways. And some of them are pretty unusual.

Drowning of Marzanna

Marzanna is the Slavic goddess associated with death and rebirth. Traditionally, in early spring (around Easter), a straw effigy of Marzanna is ritually burned and ‘drowned’ as an offering to ward off death (aka winter) and welcome in the new season. These days, Marzanna is carried past every house in a village and dipped in each puddle or stream she passes. Superstitions still persist with Marzanna: if you touch the effigy once it’s in the water, your hand will wither; looking back at the drowning effigy when walking home may cause an illness; and stumbling or falling may lead to a relative’s death in the next year.


Traditionally held on Easter Monday in Poland, Smigus-dyngus – roughly translated as ‘Wet Monday’ – involves boys throwing water at girls, using water balloons, pistols or buckets. In return, girls provide a ‘ransom’ of painted eggs, or pisanki, which brings good fortune and harvests. In reality, it’s a big water fight with everyone getting involved.

Calling all higher education students: this festival is for you. Juwenalia is an annual holiday for students that takes place before summer exams in May or June, celebrating three days of no lectures. The tradition started in the 15th century in Krakow, but now most universities in Poland organise their own Juwenalia, usually with some type of music festival attached to it.

Also known as the Midsummer Solstice festival, this event held annually in Krakow involves telling fortunes, floating handmade wreaths, jumping over bonfires and burning herbs. Wianki began as a Slavic fertility festival honouring the goddess of harvest and love – Kupala – but when Christianity came to Poland, efforts were made to ‘christianise’ the pagan rites and rebrand the holiday as St John’s Eve. Despite this, Wianki celebrations today are pretty similar to traditional summer solstice festivities.

St Dominic’s Fair

Started in 1260, this outdoor festival in Gdansk has become one of Europe’s biggest open-air trade and cultural festivals. From mid-July to mid-August, the fair hosts 20 days of markets, music and theatre, Kashubian food, a strongman competition and a fireworks display at the closing ceremony. All the ingredients for a Polish spectacular.

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your Poland adventure, check out these books:

  • Push Not the River   – James Conroyd Martin
  • The Pianist   – Wladyslaw Szpilman
  • The Beautiful Mrs Seidenman   – Andrzej Szczypiorski
  • No Greater Ally   – Kenneth K. Koskodan
  • The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto   – Mary Berg
  • House of Day, House of Night   – Olga Tokarczuk
  • Chasing the King of Hearts   – Hanna Krall

Poland travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit Poland?

Poland offers travellers different experiences depending on the season, so pack sensibly and choose your adventure.

Late June to August offers the warmest temperatures and long days but tourist numbers are high, the heat can sometimes be quite intense, and thunderstorms are surprisingly common in the mountainous areas.

The shoulder season of April-May is a great time to visit Poland – long hours of sunlight, cooler temperatures and spring flowers in full bloom. The autumn months of September and October offer beautiful scenery, leaves changing colour and average temperatures around 12°C during the day.

If snow sports are your thing, head to southern Poland, particularly Zakopane, in late December and early January for a winter wonderland and mountain resorts in full swing. Poland is a charming place to visit in Christmas, with winter markets, decorations along the city streets, outdoor nativity scenes and carollers singing at night.

Do I need a visa to travel to Poland?

Generally, you will not need a visa to travel to Poland for a period of up to 90 days. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan and many other countries can spend 90 days in the wider Schengen area, including Poland and other countries in the EU. EU citizens can travel around the Schengen area indefinitely.

Other nationalities should check with their local Polish embassy or on the   Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website .

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information.

Is tipping customary in Poland?

While not mandatory, a tip of around 10–15% is considered a polite recognition of good service in Polish restaurants and cafes. Tipping service workers in high-end establishments such as luxury hotels is also encouraged.

At smaller establishments or when taking a taxi it’s acceptable to round up to the nearest PLN 5 or 10.

What is the internet access like in Poland?

Poland is very well connected – most hotels, hostels and some public spaces offer wi-fi (pronounced ‘vee-fee’), usually free of charge but sometimes for a small fee. Many bars, cafes and restaurants also offer wi-fi, so keep a look out for the international symbol for wi-fi.

Major cities like Warsaw have many wi-fi hotspots and cyber cafes to choose from, while rural areas will generally have less reliable options to get online.

Can I use my mobile/cellphone while in Poland?

Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Poland. Poland uses the GSM 900/1800 system, which is the same as Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Mobile networks are usually not compatible with cellphones from North America or Japan; however, if you’ve got a multiband GSM system, it should work.

If your mobile phone is unlocked, your cheapest option to call and text on the go is probably with a local SIM card. These can be picked up from a phone shop, which are located all throughout the country. This is also likely the cheapest option for a mobile data plan in Poland.

If you wish to use your current SIM and phone plan in Poland, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive, and be sure to check in with your service provider for costs, as often this can be extremely expensive.

What are the toilets like in Poland?

Flushable toilets are the standard in Poland, although public toilets are quite scarce. Public toilets are labelled with ‘dla panow’ or ‘meski’ and a downward-pointing triangle symbol for men, and ‘dla pan’ or ‘damski’ and a circle symbol for women.

Expect to pay a small fee when visiting public toilets (around PLN 2) and carry small denominations with you, as change is often not available.

What will it cost for a…?

Poland’s unit of currency is the zloty (PLN). Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.

  • A bottle of beer = USD 1.30–2.60
  • Cup of coffee in a cafe = USD 1.30–2.60
  • Simple lunch at a cafe = USD 4–7
  • Dinner at a nice restaurant = USD 13–26

Can I drink the water in Poland?

Tap water is considered safe to drink in Poland unless marked otherwise.

For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Poland?

Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores and hotels in Poland. Smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards, so ensure you carry enough cash to cover minor purchases. It’s also a good idea to carry small change to make tipping easier and to cover public toilet charges.

What is ATM access like in Poland?

ATMs that accept international cards are common in Poland, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities. Our tip is to go for internationally recognised banks and avoid ATMs labelled ‘Euronet’, as these often give a much poorer rate of exchange than other banks’ machines.

What is the weather like in Poland?

Poland’s climate is mostly temperate, with some slight weather differences between the oceanic north and the landlocked south. July is Poland’s hottest month, averaging around 22°C throughout the country, with some temperatures rising to the mid-30s Celsius, especially in Lower Silesia (southwest Poland).

Winters are often drier than summer, and range between -6°C and 1°C, with the northeast of the country near the borders with   Belarus  and   Lithuania  experiencing the coldest temperatures. Snow can be found around Poland in the depths of winter, usually in January.

What public holidays are celebrated in Poland?

  • 1 January   Nowy Rok (New Year's Day)
  • 6 January   Epiphany (Three Kings’ Day)
  • March/April   Easter Sunday
  • March/April   Easter Monday
  • 1 May   Labour Day (State Holiday)
  • 3 May   Swieto Trzeciego Maja (Constitution Day)
  • 11 November   Narodowe Swieto Niepodleglosci (Independence Day)
  • 25 December   Christmas Day
  • 26 December   St Stephen’s Day (Second Day of Christmas)

For a current list of public holidays in Poland, including the movable dates above and other religious holidays, go to   worldtravelguide.net

Is Poland safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers?

Homosexuality is legal in Poland, and in major cities like Warsaw and Krakow there is generally a liberal attitude towards LGBTQIA+ communities. That being said, the wider LGBTQIA+ scene in Poland is fairly discreet. Warsaw and Krakow are the best places to experience Poland’s gay scene, with a small number of bars and clubs dotted around the city. The seaside resort city of Sopot also has a number of gay bars and clubs. Same-sex marriage is not officially recognised in Poland.

Recently, with the rise of the ruling far-right Law & Justice (PiS) party in the Polish political system, anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments in Poland have grown. Many Polish residents hold conservative and religious views, which are reflected in much of the current political discourse. While in most contexts there’s equality of legal rights for all residents regardless of sexuality or gender identity, there are still no protections against discrimination in education and health, hate crimes and hate speech.

Around 30 symbolic ‘LGBT-free’ zones have been declared in the south-eastern reaches of the country, and although unenforceable, these zones are said to represent a move to stigmatise and exclude LGBTQIA+ residents in rural parts of Poland.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting   Equaldex   or   ILGA   before you travel.

If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.

Is Poland accessible for travellers with disabilities?

As Poland has many medieval towns and cobbled lanes, travellers with mobility issues may find travelling difficult, but doable. Newer buildings are designed with accessibility in mind, and many popular older buildings are retrofitted with ramps, lifts and wider entrances. Poland’s public transport system is designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

What to wear in Poland

What you should wear in Poland will depend on what season you decide to travel. Poland’s mild climate and distinct seasons make it a little bit easier to know what to wear, so check out the weather in advance to get an idea of what to pack.

In summer, be sure to stay cool with looser clothing and some short sleeve t-shirts and shorts, plus a light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings. In winter (as well as the shoulder seasons), pack some extra warmth, long pants and wind-breaking outer layers. If you’re travelling to Poland in snow season, pack thermal layers and insulated jackets. Gloves (or mittens) and a beanie will also come in handy.

Depending on the adventure you’re after, you’re likely to do a lot of walking, so a pair of sturdy walking shoes is a must. You might also like to pack a smaller backpack or satchel to use as a day pack when travelling around Krakow or Warsaw.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How do I stay safe and healthy while travelling?

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Ukraine war latest: Plane downed by Ukraine in 'act of terrorism', Russia says; expert analysis throws doubt on Moscow's claims

A military transport plane has crashed in the Belgorod region of Russia, with Moscow saying 65 prisoners of war and nine others were on board and accusing Ukraine of shooting it down.

Wednesday 24 January 2024 15:24, UK

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  • Military plane crashes in Russia - with 65 PoWs on board, Moscow claims
  • Plane downed by Ukraine in 'barbaric act of terrorism', Russia says
  • Michael Clarke analysis: Crash footage throws doubt on Moscow's claims
  • Watch: Crash caught on camera
  • Turkey approves Sweden joining NATO
  • Sean Bell analysis: How Ukraine dealt significant blow to Russia's air power
  • Live reporting by Ollie Cooper and (earlier)  Jess Sharp

Ukraine's relative silence over the Russian plane crash could be telling about the potential presence of prisoners of war on board, our Moscow correspondent Diana Magnay says. 

Russia claims 65 of the 74 people on board were Ukrainian PoWs, claims which Kyiv is yet to ratify. Ukrainian media instead reported that the plane was carrying Russian missiles. 

Magnay says the Sky News team in Ukraine has spoken with a former PoW who had been part a previous exchange, who said the route and type of aircraft used to transport he and his comrades was similar to those of the plane that crashed this morning. 

"The Il-76 - this is the workhorse of Russian transport, this is the kind of thing that they would use [for a swap like this]," she says. 

"I think it's very telling that up until now, we haven't heard anything from the Ukrainian side and they are just urging everybody not to jump to conclusions," she adds. 

Ukraine's only comment so far on a prisoner swap was to confirm that one was set to take place today, but that it had since been cancelled. 

Crucially, no link was drawn between that and the plane crash.

As for the reason behind the crash, Magnay says there could be any number of reasons for it. 

"Maybe it fell out of the sky because of a fault with the [aircraft]... and the Russians immediately say it's the Ukrainians," she says.

She adds that there has been consistent attacks on the Belgorod region, and that that could have played a role in the downin of the plane, but simply taking the Russian version of events at face value was not advisable. 

"We'll wait to see what the Ukrainians say, [but] it's unwise to trust the Russians on very much," she concludes. 

By Sam Doak, OSINT producer

At around 11am Moscow time, a Russian military transport plane crashed near the town of Yablonovo in the country’s southern Belgorod region.

A video filmed from the centre of Yablonovo captured the moments before the crash, culminating in a large explosion as the aircraft hits the ground.

A second video, recorded at a distance from a moving vehicle, shows a pillar of smoke rising from the direction of the crash.

Geolocation of these videos, and comparison of the directions at which they were filmed, reveals the crash site to be a field located to the north of Yablonovo. 

Images showing debris from the wreckage visually match this location, though the latest satellite imagery from Google Earth is from 2018.

There are competing unconfirmed claims concerning who and what was being transported on the Ilyushin-76. 

The Russian defence ministry says 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war were on board.

According to Kyiv Post, officials from within the Ukrainian General Staff claim the plane was carrying missiles intended for use in Russian air defence systems.

In a statement shared on Telegram, the defence ministry publicly accused Ukrainian forces of shooting down the plane. This has not been substantiated.

We can now bring you some photos from near the plane crash site in the Russian village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine. 

The aircraft, a Ilyushin Il-76, went down at 11.15am local time, according to the Russian defence ministry, which also said all 74 people on board were killed.  

This morning a Russian military aircraft crashed over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. 

Here's what we know so far...

When and where did it happen? 

The Ilyushin Il-76 went down at 11.15am local time, according to the Russian defence ministry. 

The crash took place just northeast of Belgorod in western Russia - the site of many cross-border shelling, missile and drone attacks. 

How did it crash?

Moscow has accused Ukraine of shooting it down, saying Russian radar detected the launch of two missiles from Kharkiv over the border. 

Before that, Russian politician and former general Andrei Kartapolov said three missiles, either US-made Patriots or German-made IRIS-Ts, were used to shoot it down.

Kyiv is yet to comment on why the plane went down, and the Russian claims are unverified. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, told the Reuters news agency that "comments will come a little later" and "time is needed to clarify all the data". 

Russian investigators are thought to be already looking into the crash. 

Video shows fireball as aircraft hits the ground:

Who or what was on board?

The Russian defence ministry says 74 people were on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war en route to a prisoner swap.

"Six crew members, 65 Ukrainian military personnel for the exchange and three Russian military personnel accompanying them" were onboard, the ministry said. 

"The crew and all passengers of the plane were killed."

Ukrainian media has suggested the plane was carrying S-300 missiles, though some of those reports have since been altered or taken down. 

These reports are unverified. 

The prisoner exchange 

Moscow claims the 65 Ukrainian PoWs were on their way to be exchanged for Russians held by Kyiv. 

A number of prisoner exchanges have taken place between Kyiv and Moscow throughout the conflict.

Russia's defence ministry said an exchange had been due to take place at the Kolotilovka checkpoint on the border between Russia and Ukraine. 

It said the plane had been flying from the Chkalovsky airbase near Moscow to Belgorod, in which case it would have been in the final stage of its flight.

Ukraine's military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov told Radio Svoboda that a prisoner exchange had been planned for today, but added "it's not taking place at the moment". 

Two Ukrainian missiles were detected by a radar before Moscow's Il-76 transport plane crashed, the Russian defence ministry has said. 

In a statement posted on  Telegram , it blamed the "Kyiv regime" for the incident. 

It said the plane, transporting 65 Ukrainian PoWs and nine others, was on its way to the Belgorod airfield for a prisoner exchange. 

Confirming an earlier statement by the governor of Belgorod, it said all people on board the plane had died. 

It claimed Ukraine "knew very well" that the prisoners of war would be transported by military aircraft. 

"The plane was destroyed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the area of Liptsy, Kharkiv region, using an anti-aircraft missile system," it said. 

"The radar equipment of the Russian Aerospace Forces observed the launch of two Ukrainian missiles.

"By committing this terrorist attack, the Ukrainian leadership showed its true colours - it neglected the lives of its citizens."

Ukraine is yet to comment on the cause of the crash, but has urged people not to spread unverified information. 

A planned prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia has been cancelled, an official in Kyiv has said. 

The exchange is "currently not taking place", Andrii Yusov, from the Main Directorate of Intelligence, told the Ukrainian news outlet Radio Liberty. 

It comes after Russia claimed 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in a plane crash in Belgorod this morning. 

Ukraine has urged people not to spread the unverified information. 

Russia's parliament has adopted a draft bill allowing money, valuables and other property to be confiscated from people who spread "deliberately false information" about the war. 

To take effect, the draft law must now be adopted in the second and the third reading, before passing to the parliament's lower house, the Federation Council, and then signed by the president. 

The existing law against "discrediting" the Russian military has regularly been used to silence critics of Vladimir Putin. 

Multiple activists, bloggers and ordinary Russians have been given long jail terms.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, said the bill was aimed at "ensuring security of the country."

As we have been reporting, Russia claims 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war were on the military transport plane that crashed in Belgorod. 

The local governor has said everyone on the flight has died.

Ukraine is yet to confirm that is the case, and has urged people to "refrain from spreading unverified information". 

Mark Voyger, former special adviser for Russian affairs to the US Army Europe, told Sky News the information being released is "sketchy" and it is "highly unlikely" any prisoners of war were on board. 

"We can safely rule out that the plane was carrying PoWs," he said.

The crashed plane is an expensive model, typically used by Russian air defence, he said. 

He compared carrying PoWs in such an aircraft to "using a helicopter to go shopping". 

The trajectory of the plane at the time it crashed has also been questioned, he said, adding that initial data suggests it was flying north and not towards the Ukrainian border as Russia has claimed. 

The plane may have taken off from Egypt, he said. 

"If that was the case, it could have been carrying Wagner mercenaries or ammunition," he said. 

"I find it highly unlikely that there were Ukrainian PoWs on board." 

The plane appeared to be "in one piece" as it came down over Belgorod, suggesting it was not hit by three missiles as Russia has claimed, our defence and security analyst Professor Michael Clarke says.

Information on the crash is still "fragmentary" and Russia will "spin it the way they want to".

Prof Clarke says footage of the crash shows "an aircraft that's pretty well in one piece". 

"If it had been hit by three missiles, as the Russians originally said, it certainly wouldn't be in piece," he says.

"On the other hand, something falls off the tail or somewhere near the tail before it hits the ground.

"Something is detached - that could be a straight malfunction, but it certainly doesn't, on the face of it to me, look like an aircraft that's been hit by missiles."

Watch footage of the crash:

Russia's defence ministry said earlier that 74 people had been onboard the Il-76 transport plane, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Prof Clarke says he is "suspicious" of the claim.

"The Russians don't normally transport their PoWs in aircraft," he adds. 

"They normally send them on a train or bus on 20 and 30-hour journeys to exchange them with the Ukrainians.

"That may turn out to be true, but it doesn't sound plausible to me at the moment."

A new primetime foreign affairs show has launched this week on Sky News.

Lead world news presenter Yalda Hakim will host the show from 9pm-10pm Monday to Thursday.

The World With Yalda Hakim  will discuss the latest international news headlines and hear from the big names shaping the global outlook.

Yalda will interview leaders and newsmakers, holding some of the world's most powerful to account. Each evening, a special guest panel will join her live in the studio for conversation and analysis that explores the issues defining our times.

The show will also become the home for our international reporting and will showcase eyewitness journalism from our award-winning foreign reporting team led by special correspondent and BAFTA winner Alex Crawford and chief correspondent and International Emmy winner Stuart Ramsay.

Watch in the UK: For free via Freeview channel 233 and via Sky News YouTube  and the Sky News website and app. Also on Sky 501, Virgin 603, BT 313.

Watch around the world: For free via Sky News YouTube  and via the Sky News website and app.

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